07 SES 04 C, Analysing and Shaping Educational Discourses
The relationship between media representations of refugee and migrant communities and socio-political inclusion/exclusion in Australian, European, and North American contexts is well documented (Bauder, 2008; MacDonald, 2017; Taran, Neves de Lima, & Kadysheva, 2016). It has been argued that the media plays a crucial role in influencing public and political attitudes and the formation of policy and legislation (Bauder, 2008; Nolan, Farquharson, Politoff, & Marjoribanks, 2011). The consequences of negative media representations of young people can impact their social and educational engagement, and overall experiences of belonging (Sredanovic & Farina, 2015; Windle, 2017).
Currently, in Australia issues regarding negative representations of young people from Sudanese backgrounds are highly relevant. Australia has a large and growing Sudanese community and while it has been identified that some Sudanese youths face social and educational challenges, many young Sudanese people in Australia are socially and educationally thriving (Harris, Ngum Chi Watts, & Spark, 2013; Santoro & Wilkinson, 2016). However, in response to the reporting of several violent criminal events (allegedly involving Sudanese youths) in Australian newspapers, Sudanese youths have been receiving negative public and political attention. For example, in response to these events, Australia’s Prime Minister publicly stated, “we are very concerned at the growing gang violence and lawlessness in Victoria” (Turnbull, 2018, as cited in Koob & Hutchinson, 2018, p. 2). Additionally, Australia’s Immigration Minister publicly claimed that “people are scared to go out to restaurants of a night time because they are followed home by these gangs” (Dutton, 2018, as cited in Hunter & Preiss, 2018, p. 1). It is, therefore important to critically interrogate the content and potential impact of media representations when considering public and political conversations regarding inclusion/exclusion discourses within our communities and political landscapes (Chouliaraki & Stolic, 2017). This paper presents the findings arising from a critical discourse analysis, conducted through a Foucauldian lens, on themes of representation of Sudanese youths in Australian newspapers. It is hoped that the findings from this presentation, and resultant publication, will prompt response from the international community of researchers and generate collaborative international/intercultural research on the shaping and impact of inclusion/exclusion discourses within our societies.
Aim of study:
The overall aim of this study was to critically examine representations of Sudanese youths in Australian newspapers.
The research questions of this study are as follows:
1. How are Sudanese youths represented in key Australian newspapers?
2. What do these representations suggest about inclusion and exclusion discourses concerning certain cultural and ethnic groups within the Australian socio-political landscape?
Newspaper articles for analysis were obtained via the Newsbank Access World News database. This method of retrieving articles was chosen as this database’s functionality allows for systematic searches via manipulating search criteria. Each newspaper was searched individually using the key words Sudanese and Sudan. The three newspapers chosen for this analysis were The Age, Herald Sun, and The Australian. These three newspapers were selected due to their high level of readership in Australia. Newspaper articles, including letters to the editor, opinion pieces, and extended reports were included for analysis if they met the following criteria: 1. Specific reference to Sudanese and youth in the title, and/or, specific reference to Sudanese youths in the body of the article. 2. Content published between 15th December 2017 – 15th January 2018. The rationale for the selected time-period was due to the increased reporting that focused during this period on issues directly related to Sudanese youths in Australia. This was established through a preliminary search of the selected newspapers between the years 2015-2018. The total number of articles that met the inclusion criteria and were retrieved for analysis was 116. All articles were thoroughly read and coded for themes following Potter and Wetherall’s (1987) discourse analysis methods. The qualitative data analysis software NVivo (version 11) was used throughout this analysis. Throughout the coding process, attention was paid to subject positionality. This was done to better understand how Sudanese youths are framed within the context of the societies in which they inhabit in relationship with each other, the wider society, and political systems and structures. This allowed for further analysis relative to our specific area of interest of inclusion/exclusion discourses within key Australian newspapers concerning Sudanese youths. Relative to this focus, themes are theorised and discussed through a Foucauldian lens. This lens is adopted in this paper to better understand the mechanisms underpinning media discourses and how they relate to power and discipline in socially curating who is included and who is excluded within society.
Findings indicated that overall, Australian Sudanese youths were represented in a manner consistent with themes identified in previous research. Themes common with previous representations of Sudanese youths in the media included: criminality, symbols of fear, a lack of assimilation, and social and educational disengagement (Abur & Spaaij, 2016; MacDonald, 2017; Windle, 2017; Nolan, Burgin, Farquharson, & Marjoribanks, 2016; Nolan et al., 2011). Importantly, there were some significant differences in our findings. A unique key finding in this study was the increased representation of criminality as collective criminality and the direct linking of this with public fear. Collective criminality is recognised as perpetrator identification being established based on collective identity (e.g. Sudanese youths) rather than on individual identity. This representation of criminality establishes a discourse on Sudanese collective guilt/criminality, as opposed to a discourse on individual guilt/criminality. Consequently, individual Sudanese youths are not symbols of fear, rather Sudanese youth as a collective are to be feared. In discussing these findings, we argue that the implications of these stereotypes may result in Sudanese youths being socially, politically, and educationally ostracised based on outcomes of constructions of “visible difference” (Nolan et al., 2011). This situates Sudanese youths as being ‘other’, which may consequently lead to increased instances of racial discrimination, resulting in social and educational disengagement. In this paper, we discuss the implications this may have for policy, practice, and future research. The implications of these findings are potentially relevant beyond the Australian context. Global socio-political landscapes are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, with many groups of people rapidly being forced to re-resettle in new homelands. This has given rise to questions and debates around who is included and who is excluded within various social contexts and the pivotal role media plays in communicating the shape and form of inclusion/exclusion discourses.
Abur, W., & Spaaij, R. (2016). Settlement and employment experiences of South Sudanese people from refugee backgrounds in Melbourne, Australia. Australasian Review of African Studies, 37(2), 107-128. doi: 10.22160/22035184/ARAS-2016-37-2/107-128 Bauder, H. (2008). Immigration debate in Canada: How newspapers reported, 1996–2004. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 9(3), 289-310. doi:10.1007/s12134-008-0062-z Chouliaraki, L., & Stolic, T. (2017). Rethinking media responsibility in the refugee ‘crisis’: A visual typology of European news. Media, Culture & Society, 39(8), 1162-1177. doi:10.1177/0163443717726163 Harris, A., Ngum Chi Watts, M. C., & Spark, C. (2013). 'The barriers that only you can see': African Australian women thriving in tertiary education despite the odds. Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies, 2(2), 182-202. doi:10.4471/generos.2013.25 Hunter, F., & Preiss, P. (2018, January 4). People 'scared to go out' - DUTTON ON STREET CRIME. The Age. p. 1. Koob, S. F., & Hutchinson, S. (2018, January 3). Mother offers crime gang solution: Parents must keep their families strong. The Australian. p. 2. MacDonald, F. (2017). Positioning young refugees in Australia: Media discourse and social exclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 21(11), 1182-1195. doi:10.1080/13603116.2017.1350324 Nolan, D., Burgin, A., Farquharson, K., & Marjoribanks, T. (2016). Media and the politics of belonging: Sudanese Australians, letters to the editor and the new integrationism. Patterns of Prejudice, 50(3), 253-275. doi:10.1080/0031322X.2016.1207925 Nolan, D., Farquharson, K., Politoff, V., & Marjoribanks, T. (2011). Mediated multiculturalism: Newspaper representations of Sudanese migrants in Australia. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 32(6), 655-671. doi:10.1080/07256868.2011.618109 Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. (187). Discourse and social psychology: Beyond attitudes and behaviour. London: SAGE. Santoro, N., & Wilkinson, J. (2016). Sudanese young people building capital in rural Australia: The role of mothers and community. Ethnography and Education, 11(1), 107-120. doi:10.1080/17457823.2015.1073114 Sredanovic, D., & Farina, F. G. (2015). Can youth with a migrant background speak? Representation, citizenship and voice in Italian TV and press journalism. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 36(6), 693-709. doi:10.1080/07256868.2015.1095713 Taran, P., Neves de Lima, G., & Kadysheva, O. (2016). Cities welcoming refugees and migrants: Enhancing effective urban governance in an age of migration, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Inclusive and sustainable cities series, Paris. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002465/246558e.pdf Windle, J. (2017). The public positioning of refugees in the quasi- education market: Linking mediascapes and social geographies of schooling. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 21(11), 1128-1141. doi:10.1080/13603116.2017.1350320
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